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'Where the Southern cross the Dog'

These prints are developed from my own exploration of hand-proofed letterpress wood types.

They  take as their starting point the ‘folk-lyric’ fragments and 'floating verses' which recur in the traditions of rural American blues lyrics from the 1920s and 1930s. These form a pool of lyric elements which were then drawn upon and recombined by blues musicians up to this day  

Much like these verses, wooden display or poster types are part of a folk vernacular, often of uncertain attribution and classified in broad generic terms rather than by specific authorship. As a dominant typographic medium during the period from the late nineteenth century through to the 1930s, these types are concurrent with the music which this project takes as its inspiration.

Wood types also carry the record of a physical history; frequently chipped or worn, losing definition through accretions of ink or the erosion of frequent use, they have a tactile resonance which echoes the project’s source material

These prints are produced using types from the letterpress workshops at Cambridge School of Art. Previously one of the key regional centres of the printing trade, the School has retained a substantial stock of metal and wood types and more recently augmented this collection with types from the Fitzwilliam Museum and several local printers as they have phased out the use of letterpress types. 

The title alludes to the verse ‘goin’ where the Southern cross the Dog’, recounted by John Handy in the 1890’s and generally recognised as the first transcribed instance of a traditional blues lyric.  


A selection from this series was later reproduced in the book Handmade Graphics

by Anna Wray, published by Rotovision in 2009

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